The biggest piece of news surrounds Scott Forstall, who's headed iOS since its inception. Forstall has been with Apple since it scooped up NeXTStep in the 90s. He's had a hand in both iOS and OS X ever since. In the press release issued by Apple, it says that Forstall will remain an advisor to CEO Tim Cook through early 2013.
iOS has been an unparalleled success since its 2007 debut. Apple has sold more than 400 million iOS devices in the last five years in iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches. But it hasn't always been a smooth ride.
Apple received a nasty black eye when iOS 6 debuted in September. Apple replaced the Google Maps app with a brand new Apple Maps app. The Apple-made mapping and navigation application is terrible when compared to Google Maps. Not only is the app feature-poor, but roads were labeled incorrectly, towns were missing and satellite imagery blurred and indecipherable. Cook recently addressed Maps' performance, saying that Apple is working night and day to improve the application. There have been other snafus, such as the not-so-amazing Siri personal assistant, but Apple Maps is by far the worst.
[ Apple has made its share of mistakes. See Apple's Top 20 Public Apologies. ]
Who's replacing Forstall? None other than Apple's hardware design guru, Jony Ive. Ive is the man behind some of Apple's most successful designs, such as its MacBooks, iPad and iPhone. According to Apple, Ive will "provide leadership and direction for human interface (HI) across the company in addition to his role as the leader of industrial design."
Bottom line, Apple is looking for a change in the look and feel of its iOS platform, and it didn't think Forstall was up to the task. Now, the appearance of the user interface will fall on Ive's shoulders. Whether or not his success with hardware can be duplicated with software remains to be seen.
Ive will have some help. Executive Eddie Cue has been made responsible for Apple Maps and Siri. Does anyone envy Cue's job? He has to fix the mistakes made under Forstall and whip Apple Maps and Siri back into shape.
They'll both be working with Craig Federighi, who has been given the lead role in iOS and OS X development moving forward.
Last, but certainly not least, Apple's retail head, John Browett, has been shown the door. He joined the company earlier this year and was expected to help take Apple Stores to the next level ... only he hasn't. Given his brief tenure with the company, it's apparent that CEO Cook was looking to fix a mistake.
These changes are significant, but their effects won't be felt for some time. Look to see Jony Ive's influence in iOS 7 come June 2013.